This heartbroken mom told me that it is difficult for her when people say, "You are so strong," when she knows she is not strong
She asked if people ever say that about me, and I said, "Yes, they do, and I always tell them, it's God's strength in me, otherwise I'd be a wreck." She responded, "It's my faith that strengthens me, too!"
We talked awhile and plan to meet in person soon, as she lives in a neighboring town.This hurting mom reminded me of all the other '"moms like me" living with the loss of a child (and maybe other loved ones) who grieve with hope, holding onto their faith.
What kind of hope am I talking about, you might ask? Hope of surviving the grief that comes with the death of a child? Hope that I will be reunited one day in Heaven? Hope that I will not be angry or bitter, feeling and acting like a victim? Hope that I will have compassion for other "moms like me," and will use what I have learned and experienced about grieving with hope on their behalf? Hope that I will not make loss the centerpiece of my life? Hope that my marriage, friendships and relationships will not be diminished or destroyed, because I have changed?
These were just a few of my hopes after the loss of our son, Kevin, in 2002. But, most of all, I hoped that I would not lose my faith - questioning God's love, His judgement, His timing and His wisdom, as "He gives and takes away" according to His plan, which is meant for good. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Just this morning, I had a conversation with a young woman who I've known since she was born who is going through a VERY scary and difficult season of her life. We talked about the importance of trusting God, and immersing ourselves in His Word, which Ephesians 6 tells us is the "sword of the spirit." We agreed, as sisters in Christ, that we must use the "sword" to combat the attacks of the enemies of God that seek to steal our peace and joy, as we try to understand why bad things happen to God's people.
I encouraged this precious young "sister," to arm herself with God's divine armor, as set forth in Ephesians 6, to not listen to voices that try to tell her God is not enough for her, for us. During this trial she is experiencing, she is starting to understand the truth that when God allows bad things to happen to His people, He is fully present and good can come from the bad, if only we will trust Him and not give up hope! (Romans 8:28)
For those of us who have suffered great loss, disappointment and hard times, giving up hope in a loving, good Father God, can set us on a path of hopelessness, draining us and bringing us down into a dark pit of confusion, chaos and despair.
Living with the loss of someone we love can be the hardest thing we ever do. As we step into and walk through the "shadows of death," I believe we can either become more trusting and hopeful, or fall into a dark and lonely place. How I hope this is not true for you, precious mom.
What are you hoping for today? Are you finding yourself in a sea or pit of hopelessness or are you beginning to see some light at the end of the shadowlands? I hope the latter is true for you! I stand firm on what I have experienced as truth, there is always hope for the hopeful, no matter our circumstances. Our heartache and pain can be used for good to strengthen us, and those without hope. May we never give up hoping that things can be better, because that is God's plan for us - not only better, but ABUNDANTLY better!
I encourage you to visit Kathe Wunnenberg's website at www.hopelifters.com and reading her books, "Grieving the Child I Never Knew," "Grieving the Loss of a Loved One," and "Hopelifters: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts." Kathe is a gifted writer and a woman who possesses great compassion and hope that is contagious.
May we honor those we love and miss by being "hopelifters!" This old hymn resonates with me today, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' Name. On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand - all other ground is sinking sand!"
With Faith, Hope and Love
Angie "a mom like you"